Remember how the library used to look? I thought I’d make the feature image the original photo I took. It so does not look like this now. The sports trophies from 30 years ago are going some place else. There are new shelves salvaged from a closed school in the county. In one month, students have checked out over 300 books (keep in mind there are only 175 students).  Parents are checking out books. On Friday nights families are checking out DVDs (which given our cold weather is a GREAT thing). I introduced a kid to Tom Waits because of one of you and the opera AIDA because of someone else. YOU GUYS ROCK.

In a world where facts seem not to matter, it’s refreshing to hear kids talking smack that they don’t know a thing about and just going over and putting a book in front of them.  Yesterday , for example a junior high student was coming up with generalizations about African Americans in Los Angeles.  I was able to pull books out to show him some reading suggestions that might make him think differently. That’s what I was after and I thank you.

Here’s some photos from open house.


Whew! It finally happened. Though we’ve been open to the kids since Sept. 6th we finally got around to having a celebration with our community volunteers. Thanks again to all of you who made it happened. We just finished another giant batch of thank yous so hopefully those will go out this week.

It’s not easy writing a book, doing that mom thing, working half-time at a newspaper , and freelancing AND oh yeah volunteering for the Library Project but it is so worth it.

We still have a bureaucratic dark lord threatening to not let kids have access to books (thankfully she lives 30 minutes away and makes Dolores Umbridge sound warm and fuzzy), but she doesn’t have any jurisdiction for one of the two schools so we are okay –yay!

It’s funny to watch bureaucracy try to keep ownership but because of you and national coverage they haven’t been able to do so.

But the fun stuff.

We had a party! We set up our first adult book clubs for the community, and we celebrated our volunteers.


My volunteers! (That’s me in the red boots).

On top of that the sweet superintendent from the school district showed up with sandwiches and I steamed up a plate of tamales. It was fun.



We are by no means done. But we have come so far! And that’s all because of you and what you did by sending us books, carpets, bean bag chairs, and kindles. THANK YOU! We also thank Plumas Charter School and Indian Valley Academy for being so supportive through out and all our volunteers from IVA and our community members.

Up next we’re hoping to start taking authors up on their suggestion to have them come speak.  Also I will be the poet doing Poetry Out Loud with the schools –so shout out to you all for giving us a top notch poetry section.

We will be starting our film series soon once a week with films for the kids to watch after school while awaiting rides from parents.

Words really cannot express. Thank you.



Creature from the Black Lagoon


When I first decided to go and do a second photo shoot ever with Marilee Caruso I wasn’t sure whether or not I was to be the Creature or the sexy/silly/scared kitschy model on the banks of the lagoon at night. Like most plus sized women my confidence fluctuates and there’s always a bit of angst.

I live in a mountain town where women have mastered the fine art of not giving a shit what they look like. That’s liberating of course but it’s also boring. An evening out to dinner and everyone’s wearing their either thriftstore or patagonia finest with nothing in between.

I miss the homeland at times–no matter how shallow and fake people make fun of Los Angeles for being. I miss it sometimes. Why is it….where is it written that you can’t wear make up and be a feminist at the same time?

In town I often stick out. I DO dress more than most folk. Some people look at me strangely. I try to explain. I was raised by plain clothes lesbians–one used to be a nun for godsakes–and I got to couple that with a military upbringing and Catholic school. It’s a formula. Forced severity in clothing choices means……….

well  I think often it means this…..

I’m working on a book about plus sized alternative modeling (so specific) and I’m a method writer……so um here it is….


Vagabond, (to concentrate on pain)

Tales of a Sierra Madre

22311_10153239968474407_2041423899278877137_nI hadn’t planned on my sister.

The plan had been grandma

in the hospital

fallen again

tipsy at that intersection

of prescription and habit

I drove down

in case it was the end

she’s 96. It’s always in case of the end.

I drove down to give a few lectures

the first book ever had come out

I could say author instead of writer

I could say alive instead of dead.

I scheduled a new tattoo. A new goddess.

A friend designed. Celebrate the book.

Celebrate not giving up.

The only day I could schedule it

was the same day as leaving.

My sister was already in the car

Caged and wild and waiting to break.

She’d have time to grab food and take a walk.

She lit a joint on the street in front of a woman pushing a stroller.

I gave her money for food.

I went inside.


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Carmel Dreaming on such an Autumn Day

So way back in May I wrote about my trip to Carmel Valley—which was amazing for so many reasons. Good food. Good scenery. Much needed relaxation….but the day before that trip to Carmel Valley I was in Carmel-by-the-Sea –which immediately makes me feel like I was in some sort of fairy tale because  BY THE SEA.

The first blank book I ever bought was at a stationary and paper shop here.  I hadn’t been back to the area since my mom moved away from Salinas back in 2002–so a good long time. Now that it’s windy here in the mountains and leaves are dropping and I’m thinking uh-oh do I have enough wood for winter? I’m thinking back to the last cool fun trip I had before I had the crazy idea to build a library.  Because LIBRARY BUILDING TAKES A LOT OF TIME. Here you can read the article that came out yesterday in Yes! Magazine about it.

I used to want to live in Carmel-by-the-Sea when I was a teen. Even though I’m neither rich nor famous nor the owner of a Saab. So when I got to go on a trip there in May I was so happy and promptly realized that I barely knew it anymore! It had been so long. Too long.

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I stayed at Hofsas House  which was  comfy and cozy and with the nicest staff ever.  It felt like being in a little (but really big) gingerbread house. Must be the pink. My friends and I got to enjoy a great wine and cheese pairing with local wines and cheese supplied  by The Cheese Shop. Without every leaving the hotel we were in complete heaven–because honestly if someone sets out wine and cheese in front of you in a comfortable suite of a room with plenty of girlfriends to dish with–do you even want to leave your room?


I was so blissed out I thought I could shut the door and write the great American novel in there. Only first I needed like five naps.

But eventually it was time to go on a wine tasting. Because more wine. Carmel has this Wine Walk by-the-sea  which is a self-guided tour to local tasting rooms all in a few blocks of each other where you can sample local wines by purchasing a ‘passport.’ There’s 14 wineries in total that participate and fortunately you can stretch the passport out over several days and stagger–I mean walk–back and forth to your hotel at your leisure. I had no idea that many wineries existed in Carmel! Pleasant surprise for the wine drinker.


I took off after drinking a gallon of water off to the beach for awhile. As a mountain person who was born on the coast, I can’t be that close to the water and not stick my feet in the sand. Monterrey County has such a beautiful coast line. You can really see conservation and preservation efforts at work. No one really swims here though except tourists unaware of the dangerous undertow. When my mother lived out here it seemed that they lost a tourist every year. Still it’s good to get your feet wet.

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After that we headed back to Hofsas House and rested up for dinner. I got to walk —have I even mentioned yet how wonderful it is to just park your car once and walk all over the place?!  Anyhow–I got to go to The Grill and little did I know it is my best pal’s favorite restaurants. I wished she was there with me but even though she wasn’t my companion and I had a lovely dinner. I totally need to comeback and take the husband.


I’m already planning a return trip. This time WITH the husband. Although Carmel totally can be a family trip (my mind is scheming to leave kids with cousin in Monterrey. Hmmm…). I think the only thing that I was luke warm on was the art work. Art is of course, subjective. I’m just never one for things that match the couch or are just cute. I want art that changes the universe. I’m a hard woman to please, I suppose. But you know I’m with Orson Welles on that one.

So you know …we woke up to snow. Have to build fires now. Eat soup. Prepare for winter in the mountains. All this to say…Carmel by the sea dreaming on such an almost winter’s day.